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Sikh Shot and Injured in Arizona Hate Crime


Rediff, Washington, May 21, 2003

"A Sikh truck driver was shot at and seriously wounded by a group of White men in the latest incident of hate crime in the U.S. At least two White men fired at Avtar [Singh] Chiera injuring him seriously when he was waiting for his son to pick him up after parking his 18-wheeler in north Phoenix, Arizona, late on Monday. While he was waiting, the White men pulled up in a small red pickup truck and started yelling at him, Chiera said in a Phoenix hospital on Tuesday. The men then opened fire, wounding Chiera in the lower abdomen and upper thigh. He was not robbed and nothing was taken from the truck, said Phoenix Police Detective Tony Morales."
"Chiera's son, Hardeep Singh, 23, an Arizona State University student, found his father bleeding in the parking lot. 'He was in a lot of pain,' Hardeep said. Police and Federal authorities are investigating the shooting as a hate crime case. The shooting of Chiera comes less than two years after Balbir Singh Sodhi, a gas station owner, was shot dead in Arizona. Lakhwinder Singh Sodhi, Balbir's brother, who also knows Chiera, said the second shooting in Arizona is 'frustrating.' Sodhi said: 'They [people here] are nice people. I can't believe it's happening all over again.' "
"Sikhs were targeted soon after the Sep. 11, 2001 terror attacks because ignorant White vigilantes identified them with Osama bin Laden because of their turbans and flowing beard. Guru Roop Kaur Khalsa, a spokeswoman for the Sikh community in Arizona, said many Arizonans have stood up for the Sikh community since Sodhi's killing but that Sikhs will need to continue to educate people."